Special to 1831Galion from the Crawford Partnership

In a strategic move to improve its workforce development efforts, the Crawford County Business Advisory Council (BAC) announced its transition from Community Opportunity to YouScience beginning in the fall of 2024. Pioneer Career & Technology Schools will fund the initiative and provide career coaches to assist with implementation. The Crawford Partnership will also assist local companies with the transition beginning in May. 

Todd Martin, Superintendent of Colonel Crawford Local Schools and Chair of the Crawford County BAC, was pleased with the announcement. “Transitioning to YouScience allows us to assess students’ strengths and interests, connecting them with careers that fit their talents and education goals. This shift will enhance our ability to guide students toward rewarding careers that align with their natural abilities.”

Business Advisory Councils have existed in Ohio since 1990, but the role and requirements of their formation and operation were significantly expanded in 2017, when every school district in Ohio was required to have one in place, with the intention of strengthening the collaboration between education and the business community, and to ensure that the educational programs align with the needs of the local job market. Crawford County’s BAC has been continually operating since 2017, and participating schools include Colonel Crawford, Wynford, Bucyrus, Crestline, Galion, and Buckeye Central, with additional participation by Pioneer, Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC), North Central Ohio ESC, North Central State, the Crawford Partnership, and other entities.

“We are thrilled to embark on this journey with YouScience,” said Greg Nickoli, Superintendent with Pioneer Career & Technology Schools. “This transition underscores our commitment to fostering a skilled workforce equipped to meet the demands of today’s economy. We are pleased to provide this to our local school districts and support them with the implementation. With YouScience, we are confident that we can provide students with the tools and resources they need to unlock their full potential and pursue rewarding career pathways.”

Community Opportunity, developed by Bellefontaine-based Small Nation and managed by the Crawford Partnership since 2017, has seen varying levels of engagement, with its peak in 2021. In that year, 1,186 students from 26 different districts in Wyandot, Crawford, and Richland Counties participated. In 2022, engagement began to decline, with only 237 students registered in 2023, primarily from two districts.

Kevin Kimmel, Superintendent of the Mid-Ohio Education Service Center supports the move, “As we transition to YouScience, we reflect on our commitment to Community Opportunity and look forward to supporting our schools and companies with this new platform. This move underscores our dedication to empowering students with the tools they need for successful careers in today’s dynamic workforce.”

Brenda Luhring, Superintendent of the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, highlighted the center’s early advocacy for YouScience. “We were proud to introduce and fund YouScience for our schools, recognizing its potential to effectively connect students with local businesses through education.”

Forrest Trisler, Superintendent of Wynford Local Schools, a BAC member and leader of a district that has been an earlier adopter of the platform, said, “Our students have been using YouScience for the last couple of years, and we’ve seen improved student engagement and clearer career paths. It’s becoming a game-changer in guiding our students to their future success.”

Based in Nashville, Tennessee and launched in 2013, YouScience offers a comprehensive suite of tools and assessments that leverage cutting-edge technology to provide individuals with personalized insights into their unique talents, strengths, and career potential. By utilizing a scientifically validated approach, YouScience goes beyond traditional assessments to offer a holistic understanding of an individual’s aptitudes and preferences, empowering them to make better-informed career decisions.

Lisa Marcum, Workforce Development Manager with the Crawford Partnership, expressed her enthusiasm for the transition, stating, “YouScience represents a paradigm shift in how we approach workforce development. We look forward to assisting companies transition to this tool prior to the launch in the fall. The intention is to help them build and strengthen their talent pipelines.”

Companies interested in promoting career opportunities on YouScience should contact Lisa Marcum for assistance at  419.566.8358 (cell) or by email at lisam@crawfordpartnership.org.